At SALT™, we talk extensively about understanding your personal relationship with money. Why? Because when you think about it, money influences almost all of our decisions—and many of the habits we form. These range from small, daily conundrums (e.g., walking vs. taking a cab) to larger, lifelong decisions (e.g., where to attend college or buy a home.)
So, when was the last time you really thought about your money?
If you don’t understand your money (or your money mindset), it’s difficult to recognize why you make certain choices. Moreover, when it comes to making changes, being able to identify your money beliefs is critical for making smarter financial decisions and forming positive habits (like walking, which also happens to be the healthier decision).
To help you do this, SALT is introducing a new holiday today, October 7: Know Your Money Day. (It’s kind of like Flag Day, except nothing like it and way cooler.)
What Is Know Your Money Day?
Simply stated, Know Your Money Day is an opportunity to think what changes/improvements we can make in our lives related to money (like starting/revisiting our spending plan) to help us make smarter financial decisions in the future.
For me, Know Your Money Day is all about revisiting my spending plan and identifying areas to cut expenses. With this extra money, I plan to increase my retirement contribution and overpay on my federal student loans.
But don’t just listen to me. Hear from some of our SALT bloggers about the changes they’ve made (or plan to make!) by thinking about their money …
I think one of the biggest changes I have made is really becoming a sale shopper. I can’t completely stop my habit of buying nice clothes, but I am making a concerted effort to shop quality stores only at sale time—or only on the sale rack. This way, I get great stuff to augment my wardrobe, at bargain prices. And I find I enjoy telling people what a steal I got, so it’s a double win—looking good and bragging rights!
My money improvement was definitely creating a flushed-out, detailed budget for all of my expenses. Now that I can see exactly where my money is going, and can quickly see if I’m going to go overboard on an expense category, it’s much easier for me to meet my monthly savings goals.
My focus is always on finding new ways to increase my income. Now that I’m finishing up my MBA, my main focus is securing the highest salary possible at graduation. To do that, I’m researching the starting salaries of graduates form my school and typical salaries for positions I’m interested in. I’m attending practice interviews through my school’s career center to prepare for both the interview and the salary negotiation once an offer is made by an employer. I’m hoping that by practicing now, I can land the job of my dreams at graduation!
I need to find the balance between not spending any money and spending too much money when it comes to going out with friends. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on food and drinks when I’m out with friends, but I also don’t want to go to the extreme of not going out at all and regretting it. There’s definitely a middle ground and I’m working on finding it—still going out, but limiting myself to one appetizer and a drink, for example.
I plan to keep working at my budget. My wife and I have a newborn at home (well, a 6 month old now; is that actually an “infant”? Is that something I should know?). I updated the budget when he first arrived and last month in preparation for our first big expense kicking in: daycare. Now that we’ve paid that for a month, it’s time to revisit and balance things out even further so we can still meet our financial goals.
My money improvement is that each year, if I get a percentage raise, I adjust my retirement contribution automatically by half of the percentage. So, if I were to get a 3% raise, I would increase my retirement account contribution per paycheck by 1.5%. This way I’m still seeing an increase in my paycheck and I’m paying my future self without feeling the sting of less money in my pocket now.
How You Can Join In
We believe the path to college and personal financial success starts with knowing your money. So, for those of you who are already members of SALT, welcome back.
How will you celebrate Know Your Money Day? Share in the comments!